There is nothing like an early harvest to catch a winemaker off guard. While close followers of grapevine phenolics probably saw it coming, our “Raiders of the Lost Ark” approach saw us scrambling when the earliest harvest on record began in the 19th of March. What does this mean for wine quality? Well, a benign start to the season with high winds and a notable absence of frosts enabled the vines to get off to a flying start and set a better than average crop. A hot February and warm March then allowed even and rapid ripening followed by harvest decisions based on flavour and acidity rather than impending weather.
The feisty young wine begged a little extra time in oak and after due deliberation was granted a total of 18 months in barrel. This accentuated the savoury/tarry spectrum of the fruit with grated hazelnut, prostrate thyme and tart juniper berries notes initially dominating. Beneath this, a luxurial brocade of rich Christmas cake, biscuity brioche and pungent elderflower lend an open sensuality to a wine already dripping New World charm.
On the palate the wine has the silky smooth quality of a lounge lizard in a crimplene neck tie. The great breadth is evident, as flat-pack abs support muscular pectorals of well-rounded redcurrant fruit. A crackling structure of snapped cabin bread leads to a pithy texture as fine as ground charcoal, while a languidly lazy acidity trickles down around the edges. Like pennies from heaven, the mid-season heat can be sensed rather than felt and a surprising lick in the finish will keep you coming back for more.
Harvest date: 19 Mar - 19 April 2014
Brix at Harvest: 22.9– 24.8
Final Alcohol: 13.6%
Total Acidity: 5.80 g/l
Residual Sugar: Nil
Bottling Date: 14 Dec 2015
Release Date: 1 Feb 2016
Cellaring: 2 to 7 years